Brexit deal will not be renegotiated if parliament rejects it, minister says

Britain will not seek further talks with the European Union if parliament rejects the exit deal it reaches, the British government said

8 February 2017, 8:08am
Theresa May promised to ask parliament to approve the final exit terms in 2019, but said that even if it rejected the deal, Britain would leave the EU
Theresa May promised to ask parliament to approve the final exit terms in 2019, but said that even if it rejected the deal, Britain would leave the EU
Britain will not seek further talks with the European Union if parliament rejects the exit deal it reaches, the government said on Tuesday, as ministers defeated attempts to give lawmakers more say on the terms of the final agreement.

The statement, which echoes Prime Minister Theresa May's stance that "no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain", came as parliament debated a law that would give the Prime Minister the power to begin exit negotiations with the EU.

MPs will debate further amendments to the Brexit Bill for up to seven hours before a final vote due at 9:00pm CET.

Last month, May promised to ask parliament to approve the final exit terms in 2019, but said that even if it rejected the deal, Britain would leave the EU.

Asked whether the government would reopen negotiations if parliament rejected the deal, junior Brexit minister David Jones told Reuters news agency: "I can't think of a greater signal of weakness than for this House to send the government back to the European Union and to say we want to negotiate further ... therefore I can't agree with it."

Jones also confirmed that if Britain and the EU could not come to a Brexit deal within the two-year timeframe allowed under Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty, Britain would ultimately fall back on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms of trade.

Opposition politicians want to use the Bill as a way to attach extra conditions to May's plan to trigger Brexit talks by 31 March.

The latest parliamentary vote, which took place on Monday, saw seven Conservative politicians defy the wishes of party leader Jeremy Corbyn, and join forces with rival parties to demand a more meaningful vote on the exit terms, but the government won by 326 votes to 293.